In today’s post Ramen is back with a vengence! But first let me introduce you to a maybe not so wellknown japanese culture fact : Japanese are food lover. And this is illustrated by the profusion of popular restaurant guidebooks for virtually any kind of food (ramen, udon, soba, sushi, bakeries, and so on). The good thing, those books can be found in practically any bookstore in Japan. The downside of this being that they’re all in japanese full of those freaking kanjis. However this shouldn’t be a reason for non-japanese speaking people to avoid them. They’re always richly illustrated and a simple trick to use them is to learn how to recognize a japanese address. Once this is mastered you can simply show the address to a taxi driver or to your japanese friends. The trick to recognize an address is to look for the zip-code kanji : (〒). An example of an address is :
Note that the crucial kanji is at the beginning as japanese addresses are written backward.
Today’s place was found using such a book : “The nostalgic guide to Tokyo’s Ramen”. It is called Ganso Ebisu Ramen (元祖恵比寿ラーメン) and is located in Iriya, close to Ueno in Tokyo. Its address is given as an example above.
The front is really modest and so is the inside, a counter made out of a rough piece of wood and stools as old as the place itself which was created in 1978 according to my book. The ramen chef stands up to this first impression. Laconic, in his fifties, wearing an only relatively clean chef outfit. With a young beard and the cigarette in the mouth. We really are in the mood of nostalgic ramen. We order one normal ramen and one chashumen along with gyoza. While waiting for the food, we can take a good look at the soup, trying to decide which is the key ingredient. Is it the tamanegi (onions) we can see floating, or the simple negi (green onions) ? Most likely it is neither and it is hidden in the depth of this huge pot…
First come the gyoza. Looking deliciously roasted on the outside. Six pieces. We make the mix of Shoyu, vinegar and spicy oil that is appropriate and start eating.
Yummy!! They’re just roasted enough and the inside is really soft. A great texture!
Finally the ramen come! Surprise, the noodles and the meat are hidden under a thick layer of take-no-ko (竹の子, bamboo springs) with some negi on the side and tasty looking boiled eggs. The soup has a light taste of shoyu and the noodle have the right consistence. The eggs are a marvel, the white is ferm while the yellow is just a little soft. Great ramen. Probably the same ramen that you’re spiritual japanese grandfather was enjoying in his youth.
I definitely recommend this place if you are around in Tokyo. Go and have a look, you won’t be disappointed. Bon appétit!!